Within the last minute there were 204 million emails sent, 20 million photos viewed, 100 thousand Tweets, 277 thousand Facebook logins and more than 2 million Google searches. With those statistics it's no wonder that 90% of the world's data has been created in the last two years alone. And all of this data—whether text, audio, video, click streams, log files or sensor data—is what is referred to as "big data."
According to a recent Gartner study, 42% of IT leaders are investing in big data projects, or plan to do so this year. While the analysis of big data presents a host of opportunities, from increased operational efficiency to new revenue streams, the Data Center is responsible for carrying this additional load—and a light load it is not! As demand for instantaneous data (anytime, anywhere and from any device) continues to grow, the Data Center must adapt—this is the new normal. Here are a few Data Center challenges driving the need for advanced cabling topologies and pre-terminated cabling solutions specifically:
Optical Loss Budgets are Shrinking
The need for increased bandwidth (thanks in large part to big data demands) and migration to 40 and 100 gigabit infrastructure deployment is causing optical loss budgets to shrink—the higher the data rate, the tighter the loss budget for a channel. Traditionally, insertion loss for fiber components has been defined by the Telecommunication Industries Association (TIA) as .75dB per mated pair. For fast Ethernet and gigabit Ethernet, this loss standard was sufficient, but as we start to move towards 10, 40 and 100 gigabit Ethernet connections, the TIA compliant loss is no longer adequate. With sky-high pressure on IT teams to build flexible Data Center topologies, optical loss budget becomes an even greater concern. Thankfully, low-loss preterminated solutions can help Data Center managers better handle shrinking optical loss budgets to support more flexible, high-speed infrastructure deployments.
Downward Pressure on Time to Revenue (TTR)
Data Center managers are expected to get Data Centers up and running (or expanded) under increasingly tight timeframes. With the right plan and use of new architecture designs, Data Center operators can meet and even exceed expectations. A five-point connection architecture with pre-terminated cassettes is the most secure and the simplest choice for expansion. These factory-terminated and tested solutions are ready to go, meaning time-consuming field termination is eliminated and less time is spent troubleshooting—leaving more time for the testing teams to get the job done. Pre-term solutions also make upgrades and expansions easy. With these cassettes, an upgrade to 40 gigabit to handle big data is as simple as unplugging the cables, replacing the cassettes and re-plugging in the cables. Pre-terminated solutions are reducing Data Center build time from months to just weeks.
Increasing East-West Traffic
Data Center traffic is fundamentally changing. The need for low-latency server-to-server communication is changing traditional north-south traffic to east-west, causing networks to flatten. Network flattening removes active segments or switching tiers within the Data Center architecture—typically the aggregation switch and hops are removed. This ultimately improves latency, application performance and server virtualization management to better support big data. The challenge? Eliminating these active segments can result in longer channel lengths because the cables now need to connect access switches (typically top-of-rack) to interconnection (core) switches. This longer cable run, combined with the need for flexibility and manageability, is increasing the number of connection points in Data Centers—further impacting optical loss budgets and driving the need for pre-terminated solutions and new cabling topologies.
Do you have questions about topologies and solutions available to accommodate the evolving Data Center? Feel free to contact our experts or share your questions in the comment section below. In upcoming blogs, we will cover multi-point Data Center topologies, loss budgets and low-loss fiber connectivity in more detail.
Dwayne Crawford has more than 20 years of experience in the datacomm industry. He has served on several international standards committees to advance high-performance/low-latency protocols (such as IEEE-1394, GigE Vision and CameraLink) used in real-time image processing and utilizing high-performance computing platforms.